5 Ways to Wear a Cardigan for Spring

Happy hump day, friends! I was racking my brain to come up with an item I could show styled several ways, and I realized I had never done a cardigan! I wear cardigans in the springtime more than any other time of year, so this seems like a good time to share 5 ways to wear a cardigan.

5 Ways to Wear a Cardigan for Spring 2020

I like cardigans this time of year because the weather is so unpredictable, and this way, I can remove a layer if it warms up in the afternoon. If not, I can be cozy and comfy all day. I also love to wear a denim jacket this time of year, but they aren’t as comfortable to wear all day — especially if you’re at home.

In the fall when the weather is variable, I tend to gravitate more to the structured jackets, and I wear a lot of suede and leather, but for some reason I tend to go for cardigans more in the springtime.

5 Ways to Wear a Cardigan for Spring

#1. With Jeans and a Tee

Let’s start with the most obvious way to wear a cardigan for spring or anytime — throw on a cardigan over your favorite jeans and t-shirt, and you’ve instantly got a complete look. Just add shoes and accessories to suit the occasion.

I love the open sweatshirt cardigan shown above so much I also have it in a non-hooded version.

In this next look, this chevron top adds some pattern to this simple look. Unfortunately, this cardigan is old and only a few sizes are left.

In this next look, I wore a tank top instead of a tee. It’s a bit more fitted than most of my t-shirts, and it helps define my waist underneath the loose cardigan.

This cardigan is soft and stretchy and very cozy, and the hood is lightweight and doesn’t pull back on the sweater as some do. I also really like how the sleeves fit on this one — nice and slim, and plenty long, with on-shoulder seams for no added bulk.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: How to Wear Cardigans Without Looking Frumpy

Here’s the same outfit with a different cardigan.

This pink cardigan is a bit shorter than the longer ones that I’m wearing in most of the other outfits in this post, and it has a relaxed fit with drop shoulders. I’m really loving this length right now!

#2. With Shorts and Sandals

This has long been my spring/summer road trip uniform.

How to wear the Splendid Draped Thermal Hoodie with jean shorts for summer.

It can get chilly in the car, so the cardigan keeps me comfortable while driving. Then we stop at a rest stop, I can shed my cardigan and get out and walk around and be comfortable in shorts and a tee or tank. Plus, I just like the juxtaposition of long sleeves with shorts.

The outfit above is super old, but these sandals are actually still available, and Splendid has updated this cardigan and kept it in this year’s lineup. I still wear both this one and my black one a lot.

Here’s a similar look I shared last summer with longer shorts.

Jo-Lynne Shane wearing CORE life Hooded Open-Front Cotton Cardigan with Joe's Jeans Bermuda Frayed Cuff Denim Shorts and Sorel Ella Crisscross Toe-Ring Sandals, plus Circus by Sam Edelman Zyan Straw Stripe Bucket Shoulder Bag

Ironically, the shorts in both of these looks are Joe’s. I’ve always had good luck with Joe’s jean shorts, but they don’t seem to have any new styles out this year.

#3. With Pants and a Blouse

For a work-appropriate look, you can’t go wrong with a lightweight cardigan over a blouse with ankle skinny pants.

Also, I love these block heeled pumps for work wear and for conservative occasions when I’ll be doing a lot of standing but want to be dressed up, and they’re 25% off at Bloomies.

For more of a fun night out look, I wore a long duster style cardigan over a leopard blouse (old), with red pants and strappy sandals.

Longer cardigans can be fun for adding drama to a look, but I recommend looking for one with a slim silhouette. If it’s too voluminous, it adds visual weight and just looks frumpy.

#4. Over a Dress

A long cardigan over a form-fitting dress is very on trend right now, and it can be very slimming if you choose pieces that fit well and complement each other.

Ruched Tank Dress Outfit: Jo-Lynne Shane wearing Leith Ruched Body-Con Tank Dress with Halogen Long Linen Blend Cardigan

This Leith ruched tank dress has been popular for years, and for good reason. It comes in tons of colors, and it’s so easy to dress up or down. There’s a plus sized version too, and Nic+Zoe has a black one that’s a little longer if you want that option.

And for another option, I’m super excited to see some shorter cardigans trending again this year.

Long cardigans can be overwhelming with a dress, but this linen dress cardigan from Ann Taylor frames the sheath dress nicely without taking over.

#5. Buttoned Up

I wish I had a better picture of this, but I love the idea behind this look. It’s a modern way to wear a shorter cardigan, and it basically creates a v-neck sweater, but with a little extra interest.

This floral cardigan is from LOFT, and it’s still fully stocked. I also just ordered this one to pair with blue jeans.

BONUS: With Joggers

I realize this is really #6, but “5 ways to wear” has a much better ring to it. Still, I couldn’t leave out the obligatory #WFH outfit while we are all isolating at home.

This relaxed cardigan from Athleta is supreme comfort, and while I could easily wear it with jeans and a tee, I usually find myself throwing it on with joggers or leggings on lazy days at home.

My P448 sneakers keep is stylish and fun, but running shoes or your favorite slippers are perfectly acceptable, depending on the venue.

I hope my 5 ways to wear a cardigan gave you some new ideas or helpful tips for styling outfits with cardigans this season!

Shop My Favorite Cardigans:

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19 thoughts on “5 Ways to Wear a Cardigan for Spring

  1. I have been wearing a lot of cardigans (now with my workout leggings). Works great for Zoom meetings and teaching. No one knows what I am wearing on the bottom, and I am ready to do yoga at any time haha! I am wearing the pink Loft one you had styled awhile back. It is cold here in NH. I had to get the pellet stove going again (after only 2 days of no stove.)
    I have had to take Prednisone for poison ivy several times, and I hated the side effects. My daughter had to take it for lung issues after chemo treatment, and she also suffered the side effects. Hope you can find a dosage that works for you. It is a great drug, but the side effects are hard. Take care. Arna

  2. I wear a lot of longer cardigans, but have a great hot pink one that I got at White House Black Market a few years ago that is the cropped style. Looks like I will have to dig that one out again! 🙂

  3. Cardigans are my favorite! So easy to throw on anytime of year. I hope you feel better soon. Maybe a trip out to pick up a jumbo cup of your favorite coffee would help “perk” you up? ☕️ Take care. 

  4. Cardigans are my go to all summer long as evenings are chilly and I have been wearing my Madewell Bradley cardigans with shorts a ton! I love the Leith dress. What size do you have that in? I dropped some weight (woo hoo IF!) and am wearing more small, but not so sure in a body con dress.

  5. Sorry to hear that your hip treatment is not going as expected. Hopefully the meds can be adjusted so that you don’t feel miserable from them. I just added a light pink cardigan to my spring wardrobe( waiting for it to arrive). A cardigan certainly is versatile. I have many for the fall but needed to add some for spring. I really like the green dress with the cardigan !! Hope your weather improves, we have sun today but the wind makes it feel like winter… and it doesn’t look like any day this week will be much better. Oh where Oh where is spring?

  6. I have a question. If the shorter cardigans are trending right now, can I get away with a bolero jacket or is that going to look dated? They were quite popular (at least in Europe) several years ago, and I’ve hung onto a white one, hoping it’ll come back in style. I like wearing it over a sleeveless summer dress when the evenings get cool.

  7. That long cardigan over the dress is SO pretty! Wow! Thanks for keeping us updated with Ozzy. I am checking for dogs on the Humane Society and other sites each night before bed. I think it’s time for another pup!

  8. That AT linen-blend dress cardigan….I’m wondering about sizing. I often wear an M in cardigans, but I’m on the larger end of an M/smaller end of L, and since it’s a cropped style I want to be sure it doesn’t run small all over. I know if you ended up with the M, I’d need the L.

  9. It’s nice to see short cardigans making a come back. I wonder if it’s just certain lengths & certain styles or can I wear the ones I already have in my closet? Sending prayers for healing in your hip. I’ve had steroid injections for hip pain from osteoarthritis. It’s very effective without the side effects of taking it orally, and the relief lasts for months. I don’t know if that would be an option for you with your tear.

  10. The black duster cardigan, red jeans, and leopard blouse is such a knock-out! Love it so much! My WFM uniform has pretty much been jeans, tee (plain v-neck or graphic), and one of my splendid thermal cardigans (I have three ;-)).

  11. Sharing your blahs here too…. Dull, overcast day here doesn’t help. Sorry about your hip. Hope you can sleep. Prednisone affected my sleep. Love the cardigan looks esp the one with the dress. Amazing how we are all improvising: your Vet visit sounds really smart in this day and age.

  12. I enjoyed this post!  Since it doesn’t get that cold down here, I can wear the cardigans I have year round.  Your posts on a number of ways to wear a particular item has inspired me.  Next week, I will be leaving the house 3 days in a row.  Instead of wearing different pants every day, I am going to select one pair then choose a different top for each day.  So, thank you!

  13. Great ideas.  Thanks for the inspiration. I am glad Ozzy is sleeping through the night again!

  14. Great ideas!  I love cardigans. I’m so glad the shorter ones are coming back, too.  I have several that I love and sometimes the longer ones are just too long for this short gal!  Hoping your medication evens out and you feel better soon!

  15. Great post but I find many of the longer cardigans look great from the front but the rear view is unappealing.  Do you think I am not picking the right fabric or am I overthinking?  Also you did a post before on not looking frumpy in a cardigan.  Consider a quick update. I often refer back to that one to get my look “right”.  Thanks

  16. I really like the animal print top and the bright colored jeans Jo-Lynne! Can’t quite tell if the jeans are bright orange or red? Where did you get both those items? Please don’t tell me they are no longer available. Ha ha. If so, what brand are they so maybe I can get another color at a later date.
    I’m in sunny Florida and it’s another beautiful day. They opened our beaches back up. We live a few blocks away and rode our bikes there just to check it out. Not ready to be around too many people yet. Busy making some “fun” masks. I hope you feel better later today! 🙂

  17. The sales have been too amazing to resist lately, so I’m taking advantage while I can. I almost always have a cardigan nearby for chilly mornings and AC, so when my favorite hooded Loft cardigan met up with an unfortunate incident involving my sliding van door, I knew it needed an immediate replacement. I’m trying the Gibson one you shared -it was hard to pass up at just under $18 over the weekend!

    And, yes, vet visits have definitely been different these days! My 13 yo Boston has managed to make us frequent flyers there in the recent months throughout each stage of this social distancing. I thought it was tough sending her in alone for an exam, but to hand her off for emergency surgery from the car window was terrifying. She’s fine now, thankfully, and doesn’t appear to harbor any resentment toward me for it lol. I sure felt guilty leaving her like that though.

  18. As a person who is always cold, I wear cardigans a lot! Thanks for all the information that I easily can apply to my own outfits. Yay, Ozzy is sleeping through the night!

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